Sign-up to receive our free newsletter.
By Mr. Curmudgeon:
When television reporter Brian Ross erroneously reported that the Colorado “Batman” shooter was a Tea Party member, Ben Sherwood, president of ABC News, said, “Our mission is to tell people everything we can that is relevant about a person who has just committed a terrible crime. If, in the course of our sweeping everything we can about the person, part of it turns out that he was a member of a particular club, a member of a particular organization, he has a particular hobby, if we judge that it is journalistically relevant to a profile, a rich profile of this guy that will help our viewers understand who is this, why did he do this, then we would report the facts,” the New York Times reported.
Sherman did apologize for getting the story wrong but said apologizing for defaming the Tea Party, not to mention endangering the life of the man falsely accused, was “irrelevant to the examination of the event … he [Sherman] would not address that issue because the question was hypothetical.”
With that in mind, let me pose a hypothetical.
Suppose a controversy was raging across the nation over the question of same-sex marriage. Assume that the mayor of Chicago says the chief executive of a Christian-owned fast-food chain’s belief that marriage is the sacred union between a man and a woman precludes that company from doing business in his fair city – until it adopts “Chicago values.” Suppose further that a sitting president, who is on record as having opposed same-sex marriage, now faces an uphill re-election battle and does an abrupt about-face on the issue to garner contributions from Hollywood’s well-heeled gay lobby. Now imagine that his party’s platform is about to pledge the might of its muscular political machine in the crusade to redefine marriage. Finally, suppose a mad gunman shoots and wounds a guard protecting the offices of a Christian think-tank dedicated to “faith, family and freedom in public policy.”
Who do you think will be blamed for inspiring Wednesday’s violence at the Family Research Council?
The Associated Press will no doubt receive heavy criticism for reporting that alleged shooter Floyd Corkins “had been volunteering at a community center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.” Who knows, the AP may even receive a slightly agitated visitor at their New York headquarters.
They shouldn’t worry, though. As David Mariner, executive director for the DC Center for the LGBT Community told the AP, the suspected D.C. shooter is “kind, gentle and unassuming.” Theirs might be too … hypothetically.